Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Giveaway: $30 CSN Store Gift Certificate!

Recently I was contacted by a representative from CSN Stores about doing a giveaway. I was very excited about this opportunity because about 1-1/2 years ago I became familiar with their site when I was looking for the perfect storage unit for my new bathroom and discovered that they had a treasure trove of items. Seriously, check them out because they have home accessories for your dining room, shoes, bags, furniture, you name it, you can probably find it! And I was very happy with what I bought back then. So when the time came to help them out with a promotion, I happily jumped at the chance.

I needed something new too, right? I mean who can look through all of that and not want something so I picked out a new gym bag/all purpose bag. I thought it was pretty cute. What do you think?

Giveaway Details:
Now, here comes the fun part for you! One of you will have a wonderful opportunity to win a gift certificate worth $30 from CSN Stores. To enter, simply leave a comment and include your email so I cam get in touch with you! This giveaway runs for two weeks (until midnight PST, 14th July 2010) and is only open to US and Canadian residents. Winner will have 48 hours to respond once I contact them before a new winner is chosen! Thank you to CSN Stores for offering me the opportunity to host this giveaway. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Waving the White Swan

'The Swan Thieves'
By Elizabeth Kostova

Format: Audio CD
Published: Hachette Audio; Jan. 2010

Synopsis: Like "The Historian," the new novel ranges across a variety of richly described international locales, both antique and modern. There is once again an assortment of narratives, all of which converge to solve a central mystery. Kostova again pays punctilious attention to the details of her characters' working lives (archival scholarship in the first book, painting in the second). And although the two novels' subjects are worlds apart, there is a shared romantic premise, in which the past is forever imposing itself onto the present, the dead onto the living. Kostova's new book, set partly in Washington, tells a rather simple story, and its characters, although they sometimes insist otherwise, don't change radically over time. (All are painters, and they're not much different, in interest or in outlook, from one another.) The troubled and troubling figure around which the novel expands is Robert Oliver, a charismatic and hugely talented contemporary American painter in his early 40s with a style reminiscent of the impressionists. Tall and powerfully built, with the near-mythic "great wingspan" of an archangel or a Greek god, Robert suffers from the all-too-human miseries of artistic obsession. He has recently been arrested for trying to attack a painting called "Leda" in the 19th-century collection at the National Gallery of Art, and lands in a psychiatric facility called Goldengrove in Rockville. There he's assigned to a doctor named Andrew Marlow, himself a painter who, until now, has regarded his demanding psychiatric practice as merely his day job. After a brief interview with Marlow, Robert refuses to speak for the 11 months he remains at Goldengrove, expressing himself only by compulsively sketching and painting the same mysterious figure: a beautiful young woman in period Victorian clothing. Baffled and fascinated, Marlow embarks on a not-entirely professional quest to understand the origins of Robert's fixation, traveling to North Carolina, New York and as far as France and Mexico to interview the people who might shed light on the painter's silent mania. Kostova alternates chapters featuring Marlow's first-person voice with those of several others -- sometimes, as in "The Historian," in the quaint, slightly fussy form of confessional letters. These perspectives include those of Robert's ex-wife (a former painter) and an art-school student with whom he became involved for a time. Interspersed among the modern voices are those of a young woman in late-1870s Paris who is an impressionist painter named BĂ©atrice de Clerval, along with her elderly uncle, yet another painter. In addition to moving the story along, all these characters have lots of interesting, intelligent things to say about the actual sensation that accompanies the work of painting -- the scratch of sketch, the glop of color, the smell of linseed. 

My Take:  Was that synopsis long enough for you? Are you still with me? Ok let's cut to the chase here. Sometimes a problem with a book is about me, not the book. This might be the case. Might. The book was over 600 pages, I won the audio version. I was excited about this because a. I've never listened to an audio book before and b. I freaking loved 'The Historian'. Things did not go as planned, folks. 

Let's back up here and talk a little about my lifestyle. I am guessing that people who listen to lots of audio books generally have long commutes to work in a car? Is this correct? If not please throw some other options out. (I loved all of the discussions last week about audio books last week, fyi, that's why I waited to post this one!)

At 17 cd's I was trying every idea out there under the sun in which to listen to this book because I don't commute to work in a car. I ride to work on a subway... for 10 minutes. At 17 cd's, roughly calculating, uhm this could have taken me 10 years to finish so I had to come up with a different game plan. I listened to it while working out at the gym. The book is about a man named Robert Oliver who needs psychiatric care for cutting up a painting about a swan. The doctor visits his wife. There's flashbacks to France in the 1800s. It's all told in monotone voices. I've never worked out so slow in my life. I tried listening to it in the car when I would run errands. That worked and I would get through one track. I tried listening to it while cleaning the house with my boyfriend. He's supposed to help, he'd be napping.

Bottom line: I think I should have read the darn book. If I would have, I could have skipped to parts that were interesting (not that I would ever do that! I am just saying it's slow! Stop shaking your finger at me!). Has anyone else listened to the audio - how long did it take you?

Conversely - is there a snappy audio I should listen to?

Naturally, other people have different opinions! For alternative views on this book, please click here:
Linus's Blanket
Bookfoolery and Babble
The Book Lady's Blog
S. Krishna's Books

(This audio was a prize)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mailbox Monday - June 21st - 26th, 2010

It's Mailbox Monday time! Hosted by Marcia over at the Printed Page, Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

I'm ready for a fresh start this week! Sometimes new weeks can bring great things and I have a good feeling about this one, plus there's a three-day weekend at the end of it! So without further ado, I received one great new book in my mailbox this week.

From PBS:
1. 'While I'm Falling' by Laura Moriarty

What did you get?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Book Shelves, No Seriously

I saw this pop into my inbox the other day from the magazine Real Simple and not only did I think it was a really cute idea for those old books (like really old!) you have lying around that you will never  read again but it also is a great way to re-use books instead of just getting rid of them. Sometimes, we pass them on and we know that nobody really wants them (sometimes they do and then you should) but a beautiful old book is like a piece of art and then it can also be utilitarian, I don't know, I kind of like it. I think this would look really cool next to a desk or in your home library. What do you think? Click here for full instructions in just 3 steps.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


This week's Booking Through Thursday asks:

Do you read book reviews? Do you let them change your mind about reading/not reading a particular book?

In a word: YES! One of the best things about book blogs, I think, is that I don't have to read as many crappy books any more. I say 'as many' because ultimately we still have different taste in the end and well, what appeals to you doesn't always appeal to me, and sometimes, no matter, what I still have to read the newest, latest, greatest by some author I really love no matter how bad the reviews but back the question at hand.

I used to pretty much get all of my books from reviews I'd read in magazines. About a year before I started blogging I noticed that a lot of these reviews seemed to be lip service for the publishing house/some big name author and weren't actually for a great book as I was reading book after book that I would think was mediocre and when I would go online to look up what other people thought of it, I wasn't alone. This online searching led me to book blogs which led me to reviews of awesome books, which opened up my world!

Now, I pretty much only get books from reviews I've read online. Granted if it's a book I want to read I may skim the review for key words in case there are spoilers. I skip to what they graded/rated it. And if it's rated high enough than I look for things about it that would normally make me read a book or not and then I'll add it to my wishlist and the rest is reading history. So thanks fellow book bloggers for making my reading experience much more successful!

Once I've read the book and I see a review about it, I'll read a review to see if they shared the same thoughts about it as I did, so we can compare notes!

How about you, do you read reviews?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Guest Post: When I Was Young

Danielle at There's a Book was kind enough to let me ramble today about myself and my favorite books as a child in her fabulous 'When I Was Young Feature.' Please check it out and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tangled Webs

'The Piano Teacher'
By Janice Y. K. Lee

Format: Paperback
Published: Penguin; 2009
Pages: 352

Synopsis: This cinematic tale of two love affairs in mid-century Hong Kong shows colonial pretensions tainted by wartime truths. Will Truesdale, a rootless, handsome Briton, arrives in the colony in 1941, and is swept up by Trudy Liang, the blithe and glamorous daughter of a Shanghai millionaire and a Portuguese beauty. They quickly become inseparable, their days spent in a whirl of parties and champagne, but when the Japanese invade, Will is interned and Trudy resorts to increasingly Faustian methods to survive. After the war, Claire Pendleton, the naive wife of a British civil servant, arrives. She begins giving piano lessons to the daughter of a rich Chinese couple, and falls in love with their wounded and inscrutable driver: Will. Lee unfolds each story, and flits between them, with the brisk grace and discretion of the society she describes a world in which horrors are adumbrated but seldom told. 

My Take: Sometimes, I read a book for no other reason than that they call out to me. Their covers are so beautiful I can't help but read them. I mean look at that? It's lovely. Or at least I think so. I had heard somewhat mixed reviews about this one but I thought, well it's about WWII, a time period I can't seem to read enough about and it's set in Hong Kong which I honestly know nothing about in conjunction with WWII so I figured I'd give it a try. I am so glad I did.

This book, for me, was magical in a way because it unfolded little by little leaving you to figure it out. Every chapter starts with a date, be it around WWII or ten years later. Most of the people involved are similar in both time periods so it's up to you to figure out if they were good or bad during the War. I liked this book mainly for the fact that it made me work for it.

The plot centered around three main characters. During the War the love affair was between Will Truesdale and Trudy Laing. Trudy had lived in Hong Kong her whole life and was Eurasian. Will had arrived shortly before the War from England and they fell madly in love. It surprised them both. During the War apparently Hong Kong, while being a British colony, was quickly conquered by the Japanese. The Japanese then quickly rounded up the British, Americans and the Dutch and put them in interment camps. Did you know this? I had no idea! I found this fascinating the way it all shook out in the book but basically Will and most of everyone in power were thrown in the camps but Trudy being Eurasian remained out of the camps.

The other part of the story takes place ten years later and involves a love affair between Will Truesdale and Claire, who just came to Hong Kong with her husband (scandal!). She is the piano teacher of which the book is named after and so who I am assuming is on the cover. She teaches piano to a wealthy Chinese family and Will is their driver which is how they meet. The crux of the story is how the two timelines interweave. Personally, I found it all fascinating. It made me want to learn more about Hong Kong during this time period. If you've read this book what did you think of it?

(I received this book as a gift)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mailbox Monday - June 14th - 19th, 2010

It's Mailbox Monday time! Hosted by Marcia over at the Printed Page, Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

I can't believe another week has passed already! Where does the time go? Well, I've got one great new book in my mailbox this week. Let me know what you got!

From PBS:

Friday, June 18, 2010

Magazines Vs. Books

I’m going to go out on a limb here and change tactics for a moment and discuss, not my love for books today, but my deep and undying love for magazines. I have always loved magazines. I don’t know why. I think they are delightful companions for something to read while watching TV, while on a road trip, waiting at the airport (waiting anywhere really) and they are good for discussing useless (and useful!) learned tidbits with your girlfriends/boyfriend, getting recipes, etc.

My magazines of choice have undoubtedly changed as I’ve gotten older but my loyalty to them has never wavered. I think my first subscription was probably to Highlights and oh boy, every month I couldn’t wait to get some ‘real mail’ like an adult, that was just for me! Now as a ‘real adult’, I am equally excited to get some ‘real mail’ that isn’t a bill! 

As I grew my tastes changed to Teen and Seventeen as a teenager, learning how to style myself for Prom and deal with zits and periods.  Then as I went off to college I needed to get some more mature magazines so I switched to Marie Claire and Glamour (which I still religiously get now!) to teach me about how to deal with real men ;).

In addition to these I get some more fashion magazines like Lucky and InStyle, although Lucky is starting to be a bit too young for me. In I’ve added some magazines to keep me fit, Self, and to help me figure out things with life, O, the Oprah Magazine, and around the house, Real Simple.

Someday I may, who knows buy a wedding magazine or a parenting magazine but these days aren’t here yet. One thing’s for sure, for me one of life’s simple pleasures is a new magazine, a lazy afternoon and nothing else to do!

Do you like to read magazines too? If so, which one's your favorite? I know I couldn’t pick just one! :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Now or Then?

This week's Booking Through Thursday asks:
btt button
Do you prefer reading current books? Or older ones? Or outright old ones? (As in, yes, there’s a difference between a book from 10 years ago and, say, Charles Dickens or Plato.)

This one is pretty easy for me to answer. The vast majority of the books I read are current. I would say within the last three years. They seem to just be pumping out so many great books lately it's hard for me to even keep up.

However, if I find an author that I really I really like I'll read some of their older books, like from ten years ago. This has happened to me in the past with Barbara Kingslover when I read 'The Poisonwood Bible' and then read her entire back catalog. Recently I've been doing this with Jill Mansell and her books span back to the early 2000s and yes, I guess that now fits into the author of this questions definition of old, as in ten years ago. So I do this periodically.

Usually a couple of times a year, sometimes more, sometimes less, I'll rediscover a classic and have to read it. I did a pretty good job of reading most of the classics in school so I don't, as yet, feel a yearning to re-read them, but probably in time this will kick in ... maybe never with 'Moby Dick'.

How about you? What age do you like your books to be?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Life is Messy!

'The Love of Her Life'
By Harriet Evans

Format: Paperback
Published: Downtown Press; 2009
Pages: 448

Synopsis: In London, Kate Miller had an enviable life: an exciting job at a fashion magazine, an engagement and a wedding to plan. Then it all fell apart -- spectacularly, painfully, and forever. That was three years ago...and she fled to New York City to live with her mother and stepfather.

Now Kate is a true New Yorker, in love with the pace and rhythm of Manhattan. But deep down, she knows her life is in a holding pattern, that there is something -- someone -- more to love. But when her father becomes ill, Kate realizes it's time to return and face the friends and the memories she left behind. What really happened before Kate left London? Can she pick up the pieces and allow herself to love life again?

My Take: In my quest to have something light and fluffy to read after the heavy month of May I turned to the ever present comfort of British Chick-Lit - one of my favorite genres. I've been meaning to read author Harriet Evans for a while now, knowing that she is has a few books out and wondering if they might be as good as some of my author favorite Brit Chick-Lit authors (Mansell, Keyes anyone?). Well luckily I was not to be let down!

'The Love of Her Life' was not just your run of the mill chick-lit. It was a story that left you wanting to digest it for quite some time. It had a whole cast of characters whose lives were quite involved with each other and ended up entangling in ways that ended up being both good and bad. This is one of those stories that if I tell you too much too soon it would give too much away. See, within this story are a lot of friends. They are all good friends, and as so often happens, their lives inter connect, and it gets messy. It's real life. Evans did a great job portraying this in a very uncheesy way, which sometime chick-lit authors often fail at.

Our heroine, Kate Miller, is not your standard beautiful woman who gets everything naturally and I could really relate to her. She was a bit geeky as a child. Her parents were divorced and she was often shy. She had her close friends and she had this really cool job in magazines. She was engaged to this great guy and living in London. You really thought she had it all figured out. And then it all, quite horribly, fell apart. Evans did a great job giving the story to us in a piecemeal fashion so we would slowly figure it all out. The story takes place in two storylines, with a three year difference and it's up to you to piece the story together.

Basically, to sum it up: I loved it and am really looking forward to reading more by this author!

(I got this book from PBS)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Book Blogger Appreciation Week - Nomination

Well if you haven't noticed yet, there is always something going on in book blogger land, and I kind of like that! It builds a serious sense of camaraderie. Just this past weekend I was participating in Bloggiesta and at the end of July will be a new event, Got Books?, but this post is really about the forthcoming Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) which is happening September 13th - 17th. It's a week long event where we celebrate all of the wonderful things book bloggers do. This will be my first year participating and I am really looking forward to it. Go check it out!

One of the big parts of BBAW is the awards which are given out to lots of deserving book bloggers in many categories. We have to nominate ourselves by showcasing the five posts that represent us the best in that particular category. I have some stiff competition but you can't win unless you try, so without further ado I would like to nominate myself for the following two awards:

Best New Book Blog—This blog was launched on or after September 1, 2009. The blogger has already made his or her mark in terms of the quality of the reviews, recommendations, analyses, and other content on the blog; it’s hard to imagine the book blogging world without this blogger.  [Note that nominated bloggers for this award are required to submit only 2 posts that are reviews, recommendations, or analyses of a specific title; 3 posts are left to their discretion.]
1. Review - 'American Wife' by Curtis Sittenfeld
2. Review - 'Love Rules' by Freya North 
3. Review - 'Martha Stewart's Hors D'Oueuvres Handbook' by Martha Stewart
4. Other - Armchair BEA: Writing Book Reviews That Reflect YOU!
5. Other - Historical Fiction with Kick-Butt Females

Best Written Book BlogThis blog is consistently well-written, clear, and engaging, no matter what the subject. [Note that nominated bloggers for this award are required to submit 3 reviews, recommendations, or analyses of a specific title; 2 are up to the nominated blogger.]
1. Review - 'American Wife' by Curtis Sittenfeld
2. Review - 'Love Rules' by Freya North 
3. Review - 'Lady Macbeth' by Susan Fraser King
4. Review - 'The Lacuna' by Barbara Kingslover
5. Other - My Top 5 Most Romantic Books

Fingers crossed and best of luck to everyone out there!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mailbox Monday - June 7th - 12th, 2010

It's Mailbox Monday time! Hosted by Marcia over at the Printed PageMailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

Well after a quiet book pile last week, I appear to be back to my old self again this week with another large pile. Not that I'm complaining ... because I love to read and these all look great to me!!

Here's what I got:

My last prize from the 24 Hour Read a Thon rolled in and it is:
1. 'Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter' by Lisa Patton

From PBS I received:
2. 'Rumour Has It' by Jill Mansell

3. 'Best Friends Forever' by Jennifer Weiner

Now, I'm putting this at the bottom because I broke one of my cardinal rules and bought some books this week and they came in the mail. Granted, they were with a gift certificate I received and they will help me complete some challenges but still...the guilt! So,without further ado, from Barnes & Noble

4. 'Behind the Scenes at the Museum' by Kate Atkinson

5. 'Frederica' by Georgette Heyer

Now dish, what did you get this week?!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bloggiesta - My Finish Line!

I got up to way more this weekend than I originally expected and spent a lot of time reworking my blog! I think all told I probably spent 15 hours - way more than my allotted 12! Did everyone else get as much accomplished as they had hoped? I still have a lot I'd like to do over the coming month with my new layout but, as they say, Rome wasn't built in a day and the foundation is there and now I know what I am doing. Thank you to everyone for the positive comments about my layout. I am definitely sticking with it now.

So all told here's what I got up to over the last three days:

  • I redesigned my layout to a three column blog - something I've been wanting to do forever!
  • I also added tabs - I am so happy with this! I'll still be adding to the challenges page over the coming month, plus I hope to add a 'Read in 2009' and a 'Read in 2010' this month too so look for that!
  • In doing the tabs, I wrote a review policy which helped me complete Jennifer at Girl's Gone Reading Mini Challenge. By the way, if any of you have any comments on my review policy, I'd love to hear them!
  • I learned all about RSS feeds and added them to the left hand side of my blog (see em'?!) This is thanks to Sarah at Puss Reboots Mini Challenge. 
  • Danielle at There's a Book ran a great Mini Challenge to teach us about stats. I signed up for Google Analytics almost as soon as I started my blog but I didn't know nearly all of the capabilities it had until I participated in this mini-challenge. Very enlightening!
  • As always, one of my favorite challenges in any blogging event is meeting other great, new blogs. Cass at Bonjour, Cass ran the comment challenge which was a great way to build community!
  • One of my goals was to clean up my feedreader and update my blogroll so I participated in Rebecca at the Booklady's Blog flashback challenge to clean up our feedreaders. 
  • It's always important to back up our blogs just in case so another great flashback challenge tells us how to do just that. Jackie from Farm Lane Books - it's good to do this every once in a while and it's so easy!
  • Ruth from Bookish Ruth had us grade our site. I did and learned lots of valuable ways to improve mine which I will keep in mind over the coming months. 
  • Drea from Book Blather had a great flashback challenge that had lots of articles to teach us useful tips. I really got a lot out of this one. 
  • I did write some back up posts. Not as many as I'd like but the ones I really wanted to get to. 
  • I put out an invitation for guests posts and so far I got one back! Let me know if you have any interest too :)
So all in all I would say it was incredibly productive and I could not have done all of this without the help of Natasha at Maw Books and her wonderful Bloggiesta and the great hosts of all of the mini-challenges. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did! And again, if anyone has any comments on any of the changes I made this weekend, I'm all ears :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bloggiesta - Day 2

I have made it through to Day 2 of Bloggiesta and have finally picked a layout I like that both works for me with the 3 column template and soothes me color wise. This was trying for a while (hope you weren't logging into my site late last night because it was a mess!). Then I had to try to center my lovely header (headaches!). Enough about that - now all is settled. I am making tabs - something I've been wanting to do FOREVER! And now, I can move onto challenges, both past and present, and crossing some other things off of my to do list! I am loving Bloggiesta. Hope you all are getting a lot done too (and if you have any comments/suggestions about the new layout send them my way!)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bloggiesta - Things are Happening!

I'm messing around with my blog thanks to what I'm learning during the Bloggiesta so if you visit me (and I hope you do) and things look messy, they'll be clearing up soon. I am creating a new layout and some pages/tabs. So hang tight! Woohoo Bloggiesta!

Bloggiesta - The Starting Line!

Guess what today is? It's the start of Bloggiesta, hosted by Natasha of Maw Books Blog. What is Bloggiesta you say? Well it's a blogging marathon. A opportunity to cross those nagging items off of your to-do list and improve your blog while in the good company of other awesome bloggers doing the same thing. Break out the nachos, enchiladas, drinks, mariachi music and whack a pinata or two! Sounds like fun, right?

I participated back in January for the first time and I learned so much that when another one was announced I couldn't wait. I am at work all day today, so I probably won't get to work on my blog until the this evening but I'll be doing quite a bit periodically thoughout the weekend and hope to log around 12 hours. I am really looking forward to learning even more this time around and I'll be checking in each day with my progress so watch for some changes!

Here's what I'm going to be working on:
  • Write backup posts for a rainy day.
  • Change blogger to 3-column template.
  • Put out invitations for guest posts.
  • Create template posts for your future reads (ie: title, images, linking, tags, etc,) so you can open up, write review and post without being bogged down with technicalities.
  • Improve your blog template, clean up sidebars.
  • Any bloggy type housekeeping that you’ve been neglecting.
  • Visit the Blogging Tips group on the Book Blogs Ning and find ways to improve your blog.
These are some inspirations...the list may evolve. Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


This week's Booking Through Thursday asks:

Do signed copies excite you? Tempt you? Delight you? Or does it not matter to you?

I'm actually glad this was brought up because I feel I might be in the minority here. I have a few signed books and I'll stand in line sometimes for one but for the most part, signed copies don't really matter to me. I don't really 'get' the allure. People will stand in line for hours to have something signed. Everything that I've stood in line to have signed has been for probably 20 minutes tops. It's not to say that I didn't enjoy going to hear someone speak before that, but that for me, was the point of the experience. Hearing what an author has to say about their life, their writing process, their next book maybe, from their own mouth, that's what I like. Standing in line, I feel like cattle and I never know what to say when finally thrust in front of them. And then afterward, what do I do with the book? Keep it forever and ever. Some of mine are cookbooks so they will get used and messy, not protected and enshrined. And the novels, I don't really re-read them so I loan them out like any other book. I admit, when I do this, people feel like they have to treat it with respect and I am much more likely to get the book back quickly, so that's nice!

So, yes I am glad we could get this out in the open here. For those of you that get lots of books signed, what am I missing? :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

When Do I Have Time to Blog?

One question I get asked over and over again after ‘when do you have time to read so much?’ is ‘when do you have time to blog?’ I like this question because this was something that for a long time I didn’t know the answer to, even when I first started blogging, believe it or not! It was kind of a learn as you go kind of thing.

Obviously I wouldn’t have started blogging about reading if I didn’t love to read so much so the reading doesn’t fall by the wayside when you pick up a blog, in fact, if you can believe it, I would say that my reading has actually increased since blogging! Being around other readers day in and day out (via cyberspace) and having an outlet to constantly talk about one of my passions, books(!), has only made me want to read more! So, the blog in that respect has been a huge positive.

When I started blogging, I thought it would be a great way to have a creative outlet. I didn’t know how often I’d post. It took me awhile to get into a real rhythm but I think, since Christmas, which was about 3 months in, I really developed one. I post all week, and write my posts on the weekend (except when their are blogging events on the weekend that I participate in - like this weekend's Bloggiesta!). I work full time during the week so I didn’t want to come home and have to think up new post ideas on the weeknight when my brain was tired…but that’s not to say I don’t sometimes because I definitely get inspired and just want to write.

But for the most part, what works for me, is to get up early when the house is quiet on the weekend and write my posts for the week and then schedule them for the coming week. Then it’s stress free on that front! The only blog thing I do during the week is comment, which I love to do, and find it very inspiring and a great way to keep in touch with all of my blogging buddies and a great way to meet new friends.

One additional bonus of the blog, I think my writing has really improved. Especially my creative writing…and I think it’s getting noticed at work. I’ve always been good at writing (I think thanks to my love of reading) but since I’ve been doing it so much more frequently, it’s really helped expand my vocabulary and skills.

So what are your tips for finding time to blog? When do you do your best writing?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Two Guys Walk Into a Bookstore

'Two Guys Read Jane Austen'
By Steve Chandler and Terrence N. Hill

Format: Paperback
Published: Robert Reed; 2008
Pages: 126

Synopsis: This is the third book in the critically acclaimed Two Guys series by Steve Chandler and Terrence Hill. This time the two guys take on their biggest challenge yet-Jane Austen. Follow their wild and often hilarious exchanges as they fly through Pride and Prejudice and the darker, more complex Mansfield Park. Often veering off into the worlds of music, sports, and history, both of these accomplished writers draw upon their lifelong friendships and shared childhood memories to give dimension to their deeply personal responses to Jane Austen's writing. Terrence Hill and Steve Chandler share their humorous and touching commentaries and debates with their readers in a way unlike any other, a testimony to their 53-year friendship.

My Take: I can honestly say I've never read another book like this one and it's too bad because I thoroughly enjoyed this. This must be some sort of niche genre. Old men share their opinions, epistolary style. I have expressed here before how old men, in general, pretty much amuse me. I find them tangential and grandfatherly and this book was no exception. It was comforting in a way I needed and explored Jane Austen, an author I love in a whole new way I wouldn't have expected.

The book doesn't have a whole lot of set up but you don't really need it. These men, Steve and Terrence have been best friends, essentially for their entire lives, and decide to read 'Pride and Prejudice' and 'Mansfield Park' together. They don't expect to go into it liking it all that much and instead find that they absolutely love it.

They go on this journey together through letters. One lives in Canada, the other lives in Arizona and so this seems to be the easiest way to discuss it. Through the letters of Austen's novels they find how important she was to the literary world, how lots of people have such a strong attachment to her, and how they often write letters that have absolutely nothing to do with Jane Austen (which I must admit ended up being my favorite part). A very enjoyable read!

(I got this book from PBS)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mailbox Monday - May 31 - June 5, 2010

It's Mailbox Monday time! Hosted by Marcia over at the Printed Page, Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!

I am so excited this week because I only got one new book in the mail! Why is this exciting? Because lately I've been getting more books then my bookshelf can hold and I am running out of room and time to read them and I don't want to stress myself out :) I needed a breather!

Here's what I got. From PBS:

1. 'Jane Austen Ruined My Life' by Beth Pattillo

What did you get?
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